Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Standard-Examiner Announces Ogden's New Faux Trolley Fleet

Godfrey's dream bogus street car system suddenly appears fully in place

Fascinating article in this morning's Standard-Examiner, announcing that the fake trolley buses foreshadowed here have now suddenly appeared on Ogden City streets. Ace Reporter Schwebke's lead paragraphs provide the initial lowdown:
OGDEN — Rubber-wheeled trolleys are making a comeback in downtown Ogden, thanks to a newly established company.
Two trolleys, owned by Innovative Transportation Services Inc., are debuting this week with free daily rides from the FrontRunner intermodal hub at 23rd Street and Wall Avenue to Ogden Pioneer Stadium.
The inaugural run is tied to the city’s annual Ogden Pioneer Days celebration that concludes Saturday.
The vintage-looking yellow, blue and red trolley buses have received a favorable reception, with long lines of passengers waiting to ride them, said Jeanie Milne and Anthony Laub, owners of Innovative Transportation Services, based in Ogden.
The story goes on to report that a these two above-named local entrepreneurs have come out of nowhere to acquire four of these rubber tired monstrosities, (presumably with their own money, right?) and that routes and itineraries are already planned between Ogden's tourist hotspots.

And here's where the story turns from strange to bizarre. Even thought the idea of using faux trolleys was originally Boss Godfrey's idea, he feigns complete surprise about this latest "public transit" development. Here's more from this morning's story. We swear we are not making this up:
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said city officials were surprised but pleased to learn that Innovative Transportation Services had already purchased four trolleys.
“We think it’s a great idea and hope to see it up and running,” said Godfrey, who has long advocated a downtown trolley system.
And here comes the Godfrey money quote:
It’s possible the city may be able to contract with Innovative Transportation Services using existing municipal funds already budgeted for transportation services, he said. [Emphasis added]
Our gentle readers will no doubt remember the $200,000+ federal grant which the council believed Godfrey had agreed to allocate for further Ogden public transportation studies, i.e., real street cars?

Connect the dots, gentle readers. It would now appear that Godfrey has other ideas for the use of that money, and that the council has yet another fight with the administration looming. Get set for Ms. Milne's and Mr. Laub's arrival at a city council meeting very soon, looking for a taxpayer handout.

Who will be the first to comment?

29 comments:

al said...

Who invests in expensive equipment to start a business with only the "hope that an arrangement can be reached with the city to provide free daily downtown service"? I wouldn't be surprised if there is some sort of deal with Godfrey in place, just awaiting Council approval for funding. Anyone want to place bets on the Council being strong armed into funding this because this particular company is already up and running and has already made a significant invested in the program?

In concept I think a downtown loop is a good idea- unfortunately there are far too many people unwilling to walk more than two blocks. The city should look at setting up a way for the merchants who benefit from the service to help defray the costs associated with providing it. The city should investigate setting up a special improvement district downtown (don't even consider providing service to the Dino Park- it's too far away) and propose setting up trolley service to that area. Let those impacted decide if they are willing to fund the service and if they are, set up the district. If not...let Innovative Transportation Services charge a fee for riding the trolley to cover the government subsidy free costs for providing the service, just like yellow cab.

Curmudgeon said...

(1)A free downtown shuttle is not a bad idea, though I agree extending to the Dino Park is iffy. But a Frontrunner-- 25th --- Junction --- Washington Blvd/Ogden River crossing route and return might, I think, be a good idea.

(2) The City Council cannot be "strong armed" into funding it. If the Council majority thinks it a wise investment in downtown regeneration, it can approve funds, but there is no way Hizzonah can force the Council to provide funding. He has to make his case to them, and he may make a convincing one. But he cannot require them to fund it.

(3)Thanks to UTA providing a slush fund [the 200K "transit" fund] exclusively in Hizzonah's control, it is possible he will reneg on his pledge to use the funds to help pay for an alternatives analysis covering downtown to WSU/McKay Dee potential routes, but he's not said he will do that. In any case, those would be one-time funds, and public funding for a shuttle line will take recurring revenues.

(4) The trolley/bus shuttle in no way can serve as a substitute for or alternative to public rail transit from Frontrunner and downtown to WSU and McKay Dee, and I don't see how anyone over the age of six could possibly think it might.

dap said...

Just saw two "Community Bikes" parked on 25th Street. It will be interesting to see how long those remain on the streets.

what will it cost us said...

Can the city council require an audit of the Mayors funds to see if anything has been paid out? I think an independent audit would be in order to see where the mayor spend city monies.

Monotreme said...

What will...:

Good luck with that endeavor. Just make sure you don't end up paying legal fees, like Dorothy did when she embarked on a similar quest.

===

I noted with interest two high adventure items in today's paper, that got me to counting the number of instances of the high adventure phrase "high adventure" in the high adventure Standard-High-Adventure-Examiner this morning.

High Adventure Camping Coming

High Adventure Films Coming

Anyone wanna lay any high adventure bets on where the high adventure campground on "private land" is going to be located? Me, I'm thinking it will be that high adventure property with a failed high adventure via ferrata that never opened, serviced by a high adventure gondola that will (hopefully) never be built.

Monotreme said...

I just found this news article in today's online SLTrib.

Wow.

The comments alone are worth the price of admission.

Compared to this, Ogden crime doesn't cut the mustard.

dan s. said...

While I'm all for buses--dressed up as trolleys or not--it seems foolish to try to set up an independent bus service that competes with UTA. Any significant money Ogden has for transit should be spent on long-term solutions, coordinated with UTA. A free fare zone in the downtown area (as in SLC) would be a great place to start.

Curmudgeon said...

Mono:

You wrote: Anyone wanna lay any high adventure bets on where the high adventure campground on "private land" is going to be located? Me, I'm thinking it will be that high adventure property with a failed high adventure via ferrata that never opened, serviced by a high adventure gondola that will (hopefully) never be built.

Ah... and what would be wrong with that, Mono [gondola silliness aside]? If Mr. Peterson wanted to set up a minimal services camping area on his property to service climbers, what's the problem? It's his land.

I am all for low cost, low tech camping areas near wild places, climbing areas, scenic and historic places and such like. I wasn't always the highly successful frequent guest of Motel 6 that I am now. In my yout, I criss-crossed the plains and west several times in my VW Superbeetle, and discovered that many small towns in Texas had quite nice little free campgrounds, often with picnic areas in them. Spotlessly clean, and usually no charge. Some in New Mexico too. Young, on a budget and on the way to backpacking in a variety of places, stayed at a lot of them. BLM too often had little campsites, at low or no cost, in plains states near smallish dams and impoundments in unexpected places. Reduced lodging costs on longish trips to zero or close to it. A low tech, low services, low cost campground in/near Ogden for climbers, hikers, and general trippers, usually young, sounds like a not half bad idea to me. Even if it's run by FOM Peterson.

danny said...

The camping idea sounds good to me. That's twice I've been with Godfrey in as many days.

The city should also buy Malan's.

As far as the busses, who wants to bet they'll be sitting in front of somebody's house soon, unused (unless the taxpayers keep 'em runnin'.)

Remember SKF? After I mentioned it at 100, it went to 90, then hit 212, and is now back at 117. This isn't a recommendation, because I don't make them. It's just a comment.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

I believe the Forest Service tried to acquire Malan's Basin from Mr. Peterson via a land swap involving some FS land he wanted to develop in Nevada or Arizona. Then he got bitten by the gondola/Malan's resort bug and it all went south.

Probably, the most logical purchaser of the Malan's property, if it could be arranged, would be the Forest Service. But in any case, neither the City nor the FS can buy it if the owner isn't interested in selling, and so far as we know to date, he isn't.

Bill C. said...

Catlin was on the money when she first noted that the potential users of the artificial high adventure icecicle are folks that " sleep in their cars".
This must be true because lowe must have convinced lying little matty that we need an urban high adventure outdoor camping facility if his icecicle will ever get off the ground.
If they won't stay in a motel/ hotel, what makes anyone think they'd spend money to climb Dexters' high adventure artificial icecicle in the summer? Make note that the tourism boom promised by lowe, potato nose and lying little matty will come from folks that do not take showers or baths.
Next time you're at the municipal gardens and a smelly unkept person is sleeping under a tree, be not alarmed. It's just an artificial high adventure thrill seeking tourist that has been lured here for an adrenaline rush in the third ranked climbing city in America.
Oh, and please leave some change in his cup to aid him on his western quest to the number one climbing city in our great land, Boise, Id. What's to climb in Boise?

Bill C. said...

Oh, and Rudi, I mean no disrepect towards Dexter.
I just love gondolas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Viktor said...

Fake trolleys taking people to a fake rock wall, a fake ice cliff and a fake sky diving ride - with the Orwellian twist of calling it all "high adventure"!

Ya just gotta love this little Peckerwood Mayor and his fake imagination.

And Mr. Curmudgeon, it was not the Forest Service that tried to buy Malan's basin from Peterson. It was actually the other way around. Peterson bought the land with the idea of trading it to the Forest Service for prime land for a golf development. The Forest Service didn't take the bait and thus the fall back position of Peterson stringing along with the Mental (and physical) midget Godfrey on this very stupid Gondola idea.

Every thing this fake little mayor dreams up seems to be fake. What a fake legacy he has created for the very real people of Ogden, and to think he did it all with $50 million of our very own real dollars.

Bill C. said...

Seaking of fake (I prefer artificial) trollies, isn't this going to destroy the expansion dreams of the guy running the bicycle rickshaw thingamajig?

Curmudgeon said...

Viktor:

I need to do a little checking, then. As I recall, the land swap agreement, which was Peterson's idea and why he acquired the Basin in the first place, was proceeding with FS cooperation when Peterson stepped back, not the FS. You may be right, but that's not how I recall it. Let me do a little checking.

Monotreme said...

Curm:

You probably misunderstood me, because my post was too high adventure for you.

I'm not opposed to a campground. I am opposed to this silliness of the Mayor's: "I know where this is going to be, but I'm not going to tell you, neener neener boo boo."

Oh, and putting the phrase "high adventure" in the newspaper at least five or six times today cheeses me off, too.

Bill C. said...

Mono. high adventure, high adventure, high adventure, high adventure, high adventure, high adventure, high adventure.
How about, elevated daring and hazzardous undertaking. Nope, it's all artificial, in a totally controlled enviroment.

monotreme said...

Now this is High Adventure:

http://www.highadventure.org/

disgusted said...

two thoughts
one i wonder if the new tolley owners have a business license and when did they get it. might tell us a little about timing na dwhen the administration knew what was going on.
two if ogden city buys malan basin the city would be responsible for police services fire prvention medical services and possible responsible for for utilities. ogden should not buy or take any ownership of malan basin. not unless you want to pay for and install the water and sewer and road infrastucture up there for peterson and the see his big plan get subsudized by ogden residents.

britney spears said...

Honestly, I think we should just trust our mayor in every decision that he makes and just support that.

dan s. said...

Curm:

It's amazing how these myths acquire a life of their own, isn't it?

When Peterson was giving speeches a couple years ago, he claimed that he originally bought the Malan's Basin property with the intent of trading it to the Forest Service--but that Godfrey then talked him into building a resort and gondola there instead. I've never heard that Peterson or the Forest Service ever said they had any actual discussions about such a trade, and I very much doubt that any such discussions ever took place. In fact, I doubt that Peterson even had such an intent, since he and Godfrey had already worked together on gondola schemes in the past and he surely knew all about the newly formed Lift Ogden Committee.

Perhaps, if we're successful in our GRAMA lawsuit, we'll learn a bit more about how Peterson's purchase of the Malan's Basin property came about. Or perhaps not.

dan s. said...

I don't know where on Peterson's property it would be feasible to put a climber's camp--the terrain is too steep and there's no road access.

A more likely site would be the Behnken property at the top of 27th Street, although road access could be an issue there as well.

And there will be other issues. I'll be interested to learn whether this is a serious proposal or just another half-baked Godfrey trial balloon.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

Thank you. Working from memory [as I was] is always iffy. Happy to have been set straight on this.

Monotreme said...

Dan:

Thanks for the info. I'm not up on the property lines and ownership in the area. It's good to hear the Straight Dope, so to speak.

Whatever arrangements are made for camping, we do know that it will be High Adventure. You and I will be stuck with our colorless, Low Adventure lives.

Bill C. said...

Rudi, isn't it great to have such a high adventure discussion? A little bird told me that since peta has created such a stir about the treatment of rodeo animals, coupled with the new found acclaim Ogden has recieved for being the world champion artificial high adventure mecca, lying little matty has decided to use all artificial mechanical animal imitation robots for next years rodeo. It'll be a first, the whole world will look on in wonder.
The little bird informed me this vision is a by-product of an evening spent by short deck and lying little matty in the lift ogden clubhouse/ pedophile torture chamber and photo gallery in cavendish's basement, watching old John Travolta movies. Ye-ha!!!!

asshats said...

Maybe they should just turn that golf course into a campground!!!!

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped up to front page.

Monotreme said...

I was curious just how much of a marketplace impact Rock and Ice magazine has, so I asked.

The paid circulation of the magazine is 30,000. This is large, but comparable to my own favorite magazine you've never heard of, Clean Run, which is a dog agility magazine with a paid circulation of 10,000. I realize that it's not high adventure.

I would also mention, as an aside, that Rock and Ice estimates that about 1/3 of its readers participate in ice climbing (p. 5 of linked media guide). I don't know if that's all (or even a significant portion) of the ice climbers in the US, but if it is, 10,000 enthusiasts is not much to build a business model on.

Jason the rumdum said...

But Monotreme, Short-deck Geiger, enormous Godfreyite fatasses, and many similarly minded high-adventure enthusiast douchebags would love nothing more than to scale a frozen dildo on a hot summer afternoon, rather than, say, play golf or hike Waterfall Canyon. In fact, there are enough of those douchebags with decal-ridden fag-yellow trucks that "I can see lines of people in August, waiting to climb the ice tower," according to Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey and his forehead. Also, this high-adventure campground will be another component of our "high-adventure destination mecca" mantra, spit out of the mouth of fey latent douchebags like Dr. Edgor Allen, and the proprietors of Ogden Properties, LLC, who cannot even correctly mimic this garbled sack of high-adventure bullshit.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

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